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EXIM trade in VOC Port impacted by Sri Lankan crisis

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Herons Logistics

MADURAI : The impact of the economic crisis prevailing in Sri Lanka has slowed down EXIM trade, as Thoothukudi-based seaport is largely reliant on Colombo Port.
Though upset by the situation in the neighboring Island Nation, it did not impact the trade much as of now, but the situation should not lead to any backlog of cargo in container freight stations, JP Joe Villavarayar, President, Tuticorin Port Transport and Equipment Owners Association, said.

Mohan, Secretary, Tuticorin Ship Agents Association, said the economic uncertainty in Sri Lanka has led to cargo diversion from Thoothukudi to seaports in Chennai, Cochin and Gujarat as some stakeholders avoided transshipment to the economically struggling Sri Lanka, where cost of fuel dependent logistics is daunting.

Further, he said demands were placed before the Port authorities here to offer a docking incentive fee to attract mother vessels to call at VOC Port, where channel widening is done.

J David Raja, Senior Vice President, St John Freight Systems Limited, Thoothukudi, said, the inter-terminal trucking in Colombo is facing threat as stakeholders could hardly outsource fuel management service. Raja said a volume of cargo diversion is on to Mumbai from Thoothukudi. There was a delay in in-bound cargo from Colombo.

TK Ramachandran, Chairman, VO Chidambaranar Port Authority, told Next that Colombo Port is facing slowdown in operations causing pile up of import containers destined to Indian ports. It has resulted in vessels skipping VOC Port.

Moreover, the mainline service to Colombo was also affected. Such mainline vessels have been attracted to VOC Port recently as an alternate direct call service to facilitate EXIM trade. The Port in Thoothukudi also attracted ‘MSC VIDHI’, adhoc mainline vessel last week to handle imports of 1564 TEUs and export 1275 TEUs, the Chairman added.

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